Pope John Paul has again expressed his concern over the crisis in Poland, saying his Polish homeland is now in his daily prayers.
GV Exterior St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City
SV Interior Pope John Paul meeting Polish pilgrims, walks away with entourage and crowd applauds. (2 shots)
SV interior Pope John Paul in "Aula Nervi" audience hall addressing audience in Polish.
SV Pope delivers blessing and crowd applauds.
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Background: Pope John Paul has again expressed his concern over the crisis in Poland, saying his Polish homeland is now in his daily prayers. The Pope's latest statement, his third on the subject in the past week, came in an emotional address to his weekly general audience at the Vatican.
SYNOPSIS: Earlier this week, Pope John Paul diverged from the prepared text of a speech in St. Peter's Square to air his fears over the Polish upheaval. He referred to the latest reports as alarming and said he hoped they would not be confirmed. On Wednesday (10 December), the pontiff was greeted by hundreds of Polish pilgrims who had travelled to St. Peter's Basilica for the general audience. And the address that followed highlighted the Vatican's concern.
Inside the Vatican's "Aula Nervi" audience hall, the Pope told his audience he wanted to express special solidarity with his homeland for the situation it is living through at the moment. Referring to approaching Christmas festivities, the pontiff said this was a time to speak of peace for all men of good will. He said in this period of upheaval, Poland was in his daily prayers.
There are persistent rumours in Rome that the Pope is to discuss his concerns with the leader of Poland's free trade union movement Lech Walesa. Vatican officials have not confirmed the reports, but a spokesman did say the Pope was disposed to receive the Solidarity leader. Mr Walesa is expected to be in Rome within a much.